Cocker Spaniels were initially bred for hunting but have quickly become a favorite breed among families. The best insurance policy for a Cocker Spaniel may not match that of a larger dog breed. This is why we’ve dedicated this insurance guide to Cocker Spaniels.
Cocker Spaniels are among the most popular dog breeds, easily trained, and make excellent playmates for children. Each dog is unique, and your budget isn’t the same as your neighbor’s. So we’ve compiled a list of health insurance considerations to help you find the best fit for your needs.
At 14 to 15 inches tall and weighing 24 to 30 pounds, this breed is as easily susceptible to accidents and illnesses as any other canine. And like all other purebreds, they are prone to more health concerns than most mixed breeds, making pet insurance an excellent investment consideration.
At A Glance
Note: Clicking the above links take you to each company’s website to learn more and get a quote. If you make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you.
- Is Pet Insurance Worth It?
- Common Health Issues In Cocker Spaniels
- Considerations When Choosing An Insurer
- Who Offers The Best Policy?
- How To Save Money
- Final Thoughts
Is Pet Insurance Worth It?
The short answer is yes. A survey by Liberty Mutual Insurance states that 63% of pet owners couldn’t afford unexpected medical care for their pets. Not only does pet insurance allow you to choose the best medical treatment for your pet, but it also provides stability to your finances.
The key thing to remember is to sign up for pet insurance before an emergency arises. You cannot count on coverage for your Cocker’s pre-diagnosed health issues. So it’s crucial to get your dog covered as soon as possible.
Common Health Issues In Cocker Spaniels
Cocker Spaniels generally live 12-15 years. However, the health issues below can give you an idea of what to look for regarding symptoms and insurance coverage.
A Vet’s Experience With Cocker Spaniels’ Health
Cocker Spaniels are a very sociable breed and can make great companions. However, like many breeds, they are prone to certain health conditions.
Cocker Spaniels are prone to hip dysplasia, which means the hip joint does not fit smoothly together as it should. This causes friction, pain, and leads to arthritis. Treatment is lifelong, with or without surgery, and can be costly.
Another common condition in Cocker Spaniels is atopy, which is an allergic skin condition that causes excessive itching. Again, this requires lifelong medication, alongside regular check-ups with your vet. As a part of atopy, or as a standalone issue, Cocker Spaniels commonly suffer with ear problems.
Sadly, Cocker Spaniels are prone to some auto-immune conditions, which can be very serious. For example, immune-mediated hemolytic anemia (IMHA) is a condition where the dog’s body attacks its own red blood cells, causing a life threatening anaemia.
Inherited conditions in Cocker Spaniels include eye problems, familial nephropathy (kidney disease), acral mutilation syndrome.
So, if you’re thinking about buying a Cocker Spaniel puppy, it’s important to make sure that the parents have been screened for relevant health conditions. It’s also a good idea to take out pet insurance as soon as possible, ideally before your puppy comes home.Sarah-Jane Molier BSc, BVM&S, MRCVS
Spaniels are at risk of several eye concerns, including cataracts, cherry eye, glaucoma, progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), and keratoconjunctivitis sicca (dry eye).
Depending on the necessary diagnostic testing, you could face $3,800 or more for cataract evaluation and surgery. Cherry eye surgery is typically less costly than cataract, but it’s still fairly high ranging from $1,300 – $1,600.
Glaucoma is an eye disorder where fluid builds up because there’s improper drainage. The excess fluid increases the intraocular pressure in the eye, which causes retina and optic nerve damage, ultimately leading to vision loss and, eventually, blindness. Glaucoma treatment may consist of medication, surgery, and potentially eye removal and can cost thousands of dollars.
Unfortunately, surgery and other medical intervention cannot correct PRA or dry eye. Diagnosis for PRA can be costly, and adjusting your dog’s environment may be necessary, but ultimately there is no cure. Medication can help control dry eye, but ultimately, there is no cure.
Symptoms include mental dullness, lethargy, weight gain, hair loss, and repeated skin infections. Vets use tests to diagnose it, including bloodwork and regular monitoring of hormone levels. Thankfully, hypothyroidism is manageable with daily medication. But, since this is a chronic condition, you might want to consider a pet insurance policy that has a per-incident deductible rather than an annual one. At this time, Trupanion is the only pet insurance company we review that offers a per-incident deductible option.
However, the long-term costs and the diagnostic work beforehand can build up. Some pet insurance policies cover diagnostic work and prescriptions, but not all. The average cost of managing hypothyroidism annually ranges from $300 to $700, with an additional $50 to $150 for initial diagnostic work. Your pup is likely to command a higher average price thanks to its larger body mass.
Autoimmune hemolytic anemia (AIHA), or immune-mediated hemolytic anemia (IMHA), is when the immune system attacks the animal’s red blood cells, causing acute anemia. Although it’s treatable, the mortality rate among Cockers with this illness is high.
Diagnosis includes a blood test followed by additional diagnostic testing to determine if the disease is primary or secondary. Tests may include the Coombs test, reticulocyte test, biochemical profile, urinalysis, X-rays, and ultrasounds.
Treatment varies depending on the severity but may include a blood transfusion, antibiotics, heartworm treatment, toxin antidotes, immunosuppressive therapy, corticosteroids (often prednisone), immunosuppressive medications (often azathioprine or cyclosporine). Your vet may also make a referral to an internal medicine specialist. All of this together can reach over $1,000.
Considerations When Choosing An Insurer
Age Restrictions & Waiting Periods
Most pet insurance companies have a minimum age requirement (typically between six and eight weeks old) before allowing you to enroll your pet. And some companies cap the age at which you can sign up an older dog (14 years old is the most common, although it’s only a few companies). Additionally, some companies may exclude specific conditions from coverage if your pup is above a certain age (e.g., hip dysplasia, cruciate ligament surgery, and orthopedic disorders).
All providers have waiting periods, which are short periods at the beginning of a new policy until your pet’s condition becomes eligible for reimbursement. Keep in mind that any pre-existing conditions, accidents, or illnesses diagnosed or showing symptoms during the waiting period are excluded from coverage. The average waiting period for illnesses is 14 days, and for accidents is less than five days.
There are two types of insurance coverage to choose from:
- Accident-Only – These policies offer coverage for accidents (e.g., torn ligaments, broken bones, etc.), so basically any sudden physical injury. Accident-only plans are typically more affordable than accident and illness policies. This can be a reasonable option for a pet with many pre-existing conditions.
- Accident and Illness – These policies are the most popular because they cover both accidents and illnesses (i.e., cancer, arthritis, allergies, etc.), including most unexpected medical expenses. Because no provider covers pre-existing conditions, it’s crucial to sign your pet up for coverage as early as possible.
Some companies also offer a wellness plan (aka preventative care plan) during the enrollment process. This commonly covers routine vet expenses (i.e., annual exams, spay/neuter procedures, vaccinations, etc.) but varies by provider. It’s typically available as an add-on to an accident-only or accident and illness policy, but some companies allow you to purchase it without an insurance policy. This add-on coverage isn’t technically an insurance product.
To find the best option for your Cocker, you need to consider what type of coverage you need and your budget.
Premium: Deductible, Reimbursement & Payout Options
The fee you pay for your Cocker Spaniel’s pet insurance coverage is the premium usually paid monthly or annually. Monthly payments often add transaction fees, so if you can pay annually, it can save you a little money.
According to NAPHIA (North American Pet Health Insurance Association), the average monthly premium for an accident and illness insurance policy in the U.S. in 2022 was $53.34 for dogs. Of course, this varies for every dog and situation, including yours, so be sure to get multiple quotes from top-rated companies.
The premium is based on several factors: breed (or mix), location, age, gender, pre-existing conditions, deductible, reimbursement percentage, and payout. The beginning of the list is self-explanatory; you have a Cocker Spaniel, and you know your zip code, your dog’s age (or best guess), gender, and medical history. But what is a deductible, reimbursement, and payout?
- Deductible – The money you have to pay before your policy begins to reimburse you. This is typically reset each policy period (annually). However, some companies have per-incident deductibles, so you must pay this amount each time your dog suffers a new condition. Each company may have its own spin on this, so be sure to understand your policy because annual vs. per-incident deductibles can impact the amount of money you’re expected to pay.
- Reimbursement – The percentage of a claim that you’re eligible for repayment by the company after you’ve paid your coinsurance. The most popular reimbursement options are 70%, 80%, and 90%, but some companies offer other options or restricted options based on the dog’s age or location.
- Payout – The maximum amount a provider will reimburse during the policy period. Lower payout limits mean you may be responsible for more costs if your pet has expensive vet treatment.
Many companies allow you to customize your plan to fit your budget. For example, a higher deductible and reimbursement percentage paired with a lower payout will lower your premium. However, it’s crucial to find a balance between what your budget allows and the worst-case scenario if your lion dog’s health takes a turn for the worst and you have several expensive vet bills to pay.
Exclusions refer to the conditions not covered by your policy. This can include pre-existing conditions, hereditary disorders, musculoskeletal disorders, specific dental treatment, and more.
Possibly the most significant concern regarding Cockers is that a few companies require additional waiting periods for orthopedic conditions, such as hip dysplasia. Because Cocker Spaniels are at an increased risk for hip dysplasia, you’ll want to ensure you understand any additional restrictions for it. For these reasons, it’s crucial that you thoroughly read and understand your policy.
Who Offers The Best Policy?
Below are our top pet insurance picks for Cocker Spaniels based on their breed-specific needs. When you are ready, we’ve made a free quote form that provides customized policy quotes from top pet insurance companies when you fill in your pet’s details. By entering your pet’s specific characteristics, you can get a better understanding of the coverage needed.
Best Overall Pet Insurance
Pets Best is the best pet insurance for most Cocker Spaniels because of its coverage for curable pre-existing conditions once healed or cured (so things like ear infections–another condition the breed is predisposed to–can be eligible for coverage), lower prices on average, and it has no maximum age limits for enrollment. Pets Best also has few exclusions compared to other providers, including coverage for behavioral therapies and optional wellness care.
Best Pet Insurance For Older Dogs
- Excellent value for money
- Offers options for 100% reimbursement and unlimited annual payouts
- Diminishing deductible decreases by $50 each year the policyholder is claim-free until it’s $0
- Coverage includes age and weight-related concerns and hereditary and chronic conditions
Best Insurance For Bilateral Conditions
- One of the only companies with no bilateral exclusions
- Claims can be paid in less than 5 minutes via Trupanion Express
- 90% reimbursement and unlimited payouts for all plans
- Offers enrollment from birth
Additional Options We Recommend
- Premium reduces by $50 per year if no claims are made
- Covers curable pre-existing conditions, dependent on evaluation
- Exam fees included in all policies
- Offers coverage for behavioral therapy and training
- Dental treatment included
- Unlimited annual and lifetime payouts for all plans
- Fastest claim payout, on average, compared to others
- Excellent value and competitive price
- High customer satisfaction ratings
How To Save Money
Some Cocker Spaniel parents can save money on insurance policies if the following circumstances are met.
Most insurance companies offer two ways of paying your premiums, either monthly or annually. In many cases, transaction fees are added to your bill if you choose the monthly payment option. Therefore, you can minimize or avoid these altogether if you pay your premium annually.
Many pet insurers offer multi-pet discounts for pet owners who take out several policies for their household’s dogs and cats. You could get up to a 10% discount on each pet’s insurance, amounting to significant savings.
As you can see, investing in pet insurance for your Cocker is frequently worthwhile. The premium often deters pet parents. But when you consider the costs associated with common non-routine vet bills for the breed, you realize it can be a more budget-friendly option. Not to mention the peace of mind that comes with knowing you’ll never be faced with choosing between your wallet and your best friend’s health or life.
Remember to read the fine print to understand the coverage and limitations before you sign up, no matter which policy you are considering. If you’re unsure about something or have questions, give the pet insurance company a call or speak with your vet.